Alex + Koa Smith // El Salvador // 3:07

In Alex’s words:

We drive, twisting through the jungle - all sense of direction lost. No service. We pull into Punta Roca, a right hand point break. Weʻre here to surf a contest. Koa and I both lose, then drown our sorrows with ice cold coconuts and fresh fish. Food poisoning sets in, double vision. Hitch hikers with machetes, avoid any eye contact. Paranoia sets in, sure weʻve watched too much "GangLand" on History Channel.

The pearly white gates open, an AK-47 bearing guard welcomes us with a smile. An oasis of life inside, we peer through a tropical forest -- a lonely beach break spits in both directions. We retire to the villa, equipped with pools and maids; our safe house. The clouds turn black, swirl and rumble. Itʻs 4th of July, a bolt of lightning slashes through the clouds and exploding a power line to oblivion. Air conditioning stops -- we sleep and our sheets soak in our sweat and a feeling of helplessness. We drive toward the airport with fingers crossed, not uncrossed till we exit the plane in Los Angeles. El Salvador, a radical place -- demands respect.

Alex Smith